Kentucky has had a difficult season with the COVID-19 pandemic protocols, and the death of offensive line coach John Schlarman.

Coach Mark Stoops was asked if he felt a sense of accomplishment for finishing the regular season this week against South Carolina.

“I think so, we all have an obligation to do the best we can,” Stoops said on the SEC coaches media teleconference on Wednesday. “I appreciate our team with the way we are handling it, but it is hitting us as well… I know we are doing the best we can to keep our players safe, we have an obligation and come hell or high water, we are going to play.”

Of all the adjustments, what was the toughest?

“They are all difficult and a challenge, this year, with 10 games no doubt it was as a challenge. I would say the strain it puts on your players (was the most difficult),” he said.

The Wildcats suffered an opt out this week from Kelvin Joseph, who said he was getting ready for the NFL, and Stoops shared his reaction. Was he surprised?

“Not really. Kelvin he, again, he didn’t know what he wanted to do but he just didn’t want to play in the game and I told him to opt out because we aren’t going to have anyone watch practice and sit out and watch the game, it is what it is,” Stoops said.

Against the Gamecocks this week, Stoops said South Carolina RB Kevin Harris is one of the best running backs in the league, “and that’s saying something… you watch his film, it’s impressive.”

Stoops recently faced both Alabama and Florida, the teams expected to meet in the SEC Championship.

“Oh, they’re both very impressive teams,” Stoops said. “You know, we have the good fortune of going on the road play both of them back to back. So, thanks for that. Both really good teams and it’ll be a good game.”